I really really dislike the phrase Day 1 DLC (Downloadable Content). It is basically some extra content available for gamers who pay extra on the day of the launch of the video game. This is wrong on many many levels, but we will get to that shortly. Apparently the From Ashes DLC will cost about 800 Microsoft Points (~$10) if you wish to pay for it specifically, or it comes free with the Digital Deluxe Edition.
We’re happy to confirm that Mass Effect 3: From Ashes DLC will be available at launch for all platforms. For those of you who have purchased the N7 Collector’s Edition (including the PC Digital Deluxe Edition), you will get this content at no extra charge. We’ll have a lot more details for you later this week! Stay Tuned!
So what exactly is wrong with this? Let’s try “everything”. First, [spoiler warning], the DLC features a Prothean. You know, the advanced race that is pretty much central to the game since Shepard encounters a Prothean artifact? The race that is extinct, but now somehow there is a living, breathing Prothean character that you can encounter only if you pay extra for it. Bioware cannot claim that this is a “small” part of the game and not having the DLC does not mean that I do not experience the game in its entirety because there is an entire new dynamic that I am completely missing out on basically because I do not wish to pay over and above what I am paying for the finished product.
In my opinion, Day 1 DLC implies that the “finished game” I am buying is actually unfinished.
It is a cheap and offensive way of getting more money and I cannot justify the need for that much money by a huge publisher like Electronic Arts. It saddens me to no end that Bioware is also party to this cheap trick. In an attempt to justify the growing unrest on the Internet about this move Mass Effect executive producer made some statements on Twitter claiming that the DLC was made after the main game was completed and that a completely different team worked on it. Moreover he added that the DLC gets certified quickly and that additional content can be made available for fans of the franchise.
On #ME3, content creators completed the game in January & moved onto the “From Ashes” DLC, free w/ the CE or you can buy seperately.
— Casey Hudson (@CaseyDHudson) February 23, 2012
DLC has fast cert and no mfg., so if a team works very hard, they can get a DLC done in time to enjoy it with your 1st playthrough on day 1.
— Casey Hudson (@CaseyDHudson) February 23, 2012
My question is, why not give the DLC free with price of the new game itself? I understand that this has been done before with the DLC for Dragon Age: Origins in which a new character and a small adventure are given free with every purchase of a new game, in a bid to lessen the amount of used game sales because the developers do not get any money from a used game sale – only the seller gets that money. Usually this is not that much of a problem, but there have been reports that used game sellers aggressively market those games over and above a new purchase. So, yes, this is quite doable and I am fine with it. It also gives a reason for the DLC creation team to put more effort and polish into it, instead of being rushed into a blitzkrieg-like 3-month development fast-track.
For a company that was starting to make excellent new Intellectual Properties (IP) between 2007 and 2009 (like Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space) and was actually trying to abandon its image of being evil, EA has certainly come back to its pre-2007 image by abandoning those brilliant ideas to make more and more sequels as well as sequels to sequels and hosts of DLCs. It is like they forgot the “Arts” part of “Electronic Arts” and focused on money and only money. They also killed off a host of amazing studios after taking over, like Westwood, Bullfrog and Maxis.
However, when it comes to studios, Bioware is party to this thought process as well as there was no hostile takeover by EA involved. Bioware willingly went over to the “make money, not brilliant video games” side of EA and released an okay fantasy role playing game series and a pretty good science-fiction game series. Yet neither of these two (Dragon Age and Mass Effect) hold a candle to the original stories and content of the games made before Bioware joined up with EA. Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate II are the games that people still recall with reverence and awe. I do not remember most of Dragon Age: Origins and little of Dragon Age II.
Clearly, this has gone far enough. It just seems like Bioware/EA want money for releasing an over hyped game (justifiably so, since it is the conclusive episode of a modern science fiction video game series) while other AAA developers like CD Projekt RED continue to actively support the game months after its release with free DLC and a lovely new Enhanced Edition.
I, for one, am voting with my wallet. I believe, honestly, that the game is incomplete and that I should not pay the complete amount to Bioware/EA because I am feeling slightly cheated. I will forego my intention of playing the game on the day of release and buy it when it goes on sale or when the price drops a few months later, which it inevitably will. Unless Bioware/EA change their minds, this is how it is going to be. I am heartbroken that it has to be this way, but that is how I believe I can protest against this shady business practice.
Terrible work there, Bioware/EA. Terrible.